Volunteer Stories

Volunteering Magic

I have had the opportunity to volunteer as a cabin counselor for teen girls for two years now. I have learned so many things, and seen such strength and wisdom come from such young minds. Camp brings so much joy through activities such as: honoring a loved one who is gone through art, discussion, and games; camp-wide water balloon fights; singing songs beneath the stars; worst-dressed competitions; and hiking.  There are many more moments that will be in the memory of these children and teens (and the volunteers) for a long time to come. It amazes me to see children and teens who have endured a great loss be able to manage to come together and allow emotions to flow, while still having fun.  These youth understand each other, as one never has to tell someone when to respect others. Because it is all understood without a word being said. Thank you for letting me be a part of Camp Chrysalis, where magic seems to happen. April Holland Camp Chrysalis Volunteer

Transitions

Birth or death? There was a birth certainly we had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death but had thought they were different. T.S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi When I was in my childbearing years and having my own babies I became fascinated by the strength, both physically and emotionally, that mothers inherently possess. During my work as a doula (birth assistant) I became aware that some of my fascination was in part due to the miracle of birth, the transition from spirit, or non-existent person, to a person who is now on the path of mortality. Perhaps I was drawn to be a hospice volunteer due to a similar fascination. The journey that a person goes through from an existing individual to spirit or non-existence. Birth and death tie mankind to the unknown. I have had the opportunity to support women and families in their choices during labour and to be included in their celebration of birth. For that I am extremely grateful. I hope that I can be of some comfort to those...

My First Year at Hospice

After having spent a year as a volunteer at our Langley Hospice Residence, I have been contemplating what this year has meant to me; what I have learned, and what I have been able to give.  I believe my hospice work actually started two years ago as I sat with my own mother at a hospice in Regina. It was then that I decided this was where I would volunteer. In the past I have served on numerous boards and committees. From all of them I have learned a tremendous amount, and worked with very dedicated, knowledgeable, and community minded people. So why is this different for me?  I am now privileged to be on a different journey. This is a journey where those we meet even for so short a time, need so little from us but give us so much. It is where simple things are important, like a cup of tea with a lady who just smiles and touches your hand. It is a hug, without words, or an opportunity to listen to a family’s story about their loved one. It is giving a grieving family time, care and...

Why Do You Volunteer At The Hospice Residence? A Personal Perspective

When I began volunteering at the Residence about 1½ years ago, I very quickly became aware of how often the question is asked: “Why do you do this type of work?”  Well, the answer is simple, isn't it? Actually no, it is not that simple; at least I believe it is not easy for most. Initially I was a little flummoxed for an appropriate and honest answer to the question. Simply to say something along the lines of “I like to help and talk to people” or to respond in some similar fashion seemed a superficial answer that lacked substance and did not give a comprehensive explanation. I pondered the question, and still do so to some extent, because our lives are an evolving sequences of experiences, observations and events that over time influence and shape and may change our perspectives, thoughts and opinions. As anyone knows who is involved with hospice work of any type, it is one of the greater privileges in life to become a confidante to someone who is experiencing end-of-life or with an...

The Hospice Experience – From An Office Volunteer

When I retired two years ago this month, I knew I wanted to continue to contribute to my community in some way. Having worked as a Public Health Nurse for 30 years, I had experienced the satisfaction and rewards of working with people to make a difference in their lives. At the same time, I wanted to do something that I didn't have to "carry home with me". Langley Hospice Society office receptionist is the perfect answer. I know I am making a difference each Wednesday afternoon when I answer the phones, type articles, enter data, put together folders for group sessions, fold brochures and even take out the recycling. I enjoy working with the staff who are always friendly and appreciate whatever I do. Learning new skills on the computer and mastering the simple phone system has been fun. I am also surprised each week to learn how rich and deep the Hospice services are and how many families and individuals who are suffering from loss are served. The staff are caring and creative in...

So Why Am I Here?

Recently, when another volunteer discovered that I live a 30 - minute drive away from the Langley Hospice store, she commented to me that “there must be something closer to your home that you could volunteer at instead of the Hospice”. So, why am I here? Three years ago, my sister-in-law’s Mom, Isabel, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After several weeks of home care in my brother and sister-in-law’s home, Isabel was moved to the hospice care facility in Chilliwack. When I went to visit her, I was so impressed, the facility was beautiful! It looked like Barb and Gerri had put their own personal decorating touch on each room. The great room with its kitchen/dining and sitting area was amazing! How could a person feel so comfortable in a place where so many had come to spend their last days on earth. The care givers were unbelievable. I don’t know how they do it, day after day. Patient after patient. And, now, when I hear Pat (from our linen area) comment on a happening from her...

A Gift to Yourself!

I used to think of volunteering as giving, which it is. Now I also think of it as receiving. Personally receiving the joy of working with such amazing women, and the sense of doing something important for a good cause. Volunteering at Second Story Treasures has been a great experience for me. I look forward to Tuesday afternoon and can't wait to see what treasures are ready for inspection. The women I work with are also treasures. What a wonderful group! My Mother left me with some good advice. In your life you need three things. Someone to Love, Something to do, and Something to look forward to. Well I love my Tuesday ladies, they keep me busy with something to do, and I really do look forward to it!! Volunteering is a gift to yourself! Sue Westhaver Thrift Store Volunteer

The Perfect Fit

After the passing of my husband Pat, I began seeking supportive services through Langley Hospice Society. After a few sessions, a volunteer opportunity at the Second Story Thrift Store was recommended to me as a way to assist me during my grieving and to help me out of my “solitary confinement”. I heard of the wonderful people and vision that the store entailed and the important sense of contribution volunteering provides. Although I was hesitant at first, as this would be my first experience as a volunteer, I conjured up the courage to fill out an application. Soon after the interview process, I found myself working and laughing amongst the warm-hearted individuals at Second Story Treasures. The brilliant cohesion and genuine care demonstrated amid the volunteers and staff provided me with the normality I was seeking and helped me build my confidence on a daily basis. Initially given the task of repairing and cleaning jewellery, I received a quick “promotion” to pricing and...

Hospice Volunteer Experiences

One evening I sat with a man who appeared to be sleeping. I stayed for a few minutes, quietly watching, before moving on to visit others. When I returned later, he was awake. I told him that I had come in earlier. He said, "I knew you were there". It made me realize that my presence was important to the people in care, even if not always acknowledged. One time, I sat with a woman while her visiting daughter shared memories of her mother. The stories revolved around the everyday actions of a mother. The mundane deeds and loving functions that showed how much her mother cared for her family. It was the little things that mattered most, in the end, and the daughter wanted me, and her mother, to know how much they meant to her. On another shift, I met a woman who had just arrived from England to be with her father. Once here, she was reluctant to leave the hospice, even for a short time, to get settled into her accommodation. Finally, she asked me if I would stay with her father while...

Why I Volunteer With Langley Hospice’s Child and Youth Program

I began helping out at Langley Hospice three years ago to gain some volunteering experience before I applied for university. I was fairly young at the time, about age 16. I am now in university, well into my degree, but I continue to volunteer for a variety of reasons. Working with the kids who are experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Children are extremely dependent on their caregivers for survival, so when one or both of those caregivers dies the children are put in a difficult state. Children are supposed to laugh, play, and not have many stressors in their lives. They shouldn’t have to worry about not having a mom to brush their hair before school or future worries like not having a dad to walk them down to isle when they get married.   All of these worries, emotions, and stressors can be extremely taxing on an adult, let alone a young child or early teen. Adults need support with their struggles and emotions...

SECOND STORY TREASURES THRIFT STORE

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Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Donation Drop-offs

Monday - Friday: 10am - 4pm

Saturday 9am -3pm

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